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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Why bronze age when Tin was rare?

    Archeologists classify cultures according to the metals and materials they used. Stone age, bronze age and iron age are the classifications. Some say we live in iron age. Some say it's plastic age. But bronze age is special. It started around 3000 B.C. in Mesopotamia. Bronze is an alloy of tin and copper. Copper though is abundant around earth, Tin is very rare. But our ancients went after Mesopotamians and made everything out of bronze though Tin was rare to obtain. Bronze is very useful for its mechanical and thermal properties. And bronze age was the start of metallurgy and metal refining. Couldn't ancients have chosen a better material?

    Here is an example. Aztecs used volcanic glass to make metals and artifacts. We know that ancients always lived nearby volcanoes. Why didn't they choose volcanic glass like Aztecs? There are many other examples where after stone age people molded things out of materials other than bronze.
  • #660600
    I think they have named them based on their knowledge at the time of naming. Probably at that time they might not have identified tin and probably it was not in wider use. Another aspect of naming the time is also the material in use at that time. probably bronze was in use at that time. We all know that Silver is precious than aluminium. But it came into use very late and once in history, it was told that aluminium is very costly than silver. So those days, when the king was hosting a dinner all the guests were offered food in Silver plates but only the king was used to take food in an aluminium plate.
    The technology and mindset of the people at that time might not have given a thought of using these materials more in their lifetime. Even I don't know whether the people those days know about Aztecs. The material might have been identified at a later stage.

    always confident

  • #660627
    The mixing of copper with tin during the bronze age was a common practice and that gave that period the name also.

    Only thing is that time tin was not extracted in pure form and its ore was probably used with copper to make bronze. During the earlier bronze period the tin used as an alloy with copper was less than 2 percent. The extraction of tin was only started sometime during 300-200 BC.

    Tin is present in the Earth crust in 0.001 percent which is not rare and almost equal to other elements like cobalt, nickel, copper, cerium, and lead. So availability and combinability of tin was instrumental in the popularity of bronze during that time.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #660719
    This is an academic question.
    The naming or categorisation and compartmentalisation of various stages of human civilisation as done by later historians to for then sake of academic study and research.
    As I am not a student of human civilisation history, I am not able to answer the question, but am curious to know the answer or explanation from academicians and researchers on human history o civilisation.
    But from my experience I have found hat bronze has many plus points especially using them as cooking vessels . It is the modern marketing and business and narrow research that has relegated bronze to the background and archives.

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